ANAHEIM (CNS) - A suspect was under arrest Saturday in the stabbing death of a homeless man in Anaheim, but police were unsure if he could be linked to three similar stabbing deaths that has detectives treating the investigation as if a serial killer were on the loose.
The suspect was identified by Anaheim police as Itzcoatl Ocampo, 23, of Yorba Linda. He was held without bail for suspicion of murder, Santa Ana police said.
The attack behind a Carl's Jr., 3110 E. La Palma Ave., was in progress when an emergency operator got a call at 8:17 p.m. Friday, according to Anaheim police.
Anaheim Deputy Chief Craig Hunter said the man arrested fits the description of a man wanted for three stabbing deaths -- in Anaheim, Placentia and Yorba Linda -- dating to Dec. 20.
Friday night's victim was known to locals as "John." He was believed to be a Vietnam War veteran in his mid-60s. It was unclear where his last address was. Several people told television station he was a nice guy, not an aggressive beggar.
"I saw him at CVS about a week ago and I started crying when he said he wanted to leave the area and I hugged him," a woman told NBC4. "But then I saw him and I was so happy he was still here, but I've been busy and I didn't have time the last couple of days to say 'hi'."
The suspect, chased away by some people who saw him running, was caught on La Palma about a quarter-mile away in next-door Yorba Linda. His name was being withheld pending booking.
Police were believed to be questioning more than two dozen witnesses.
The first homeless man stabbed to death by what police may be a serial killer was 53-year-old James McGillivray, attacked as he slept outside a Placentia shopping center. Eight days later, the body of Lloyd Middaugh, 42, was discovered on Anaheim's Santa Ana River Trail. On Dec. 30, 57-year-old Paulus Cornelius Smit was found dead behind the Yorba Linda library.
Surveillance video taken prior to McGillivray's slaying in Placentia shows a male wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt. Investigators also are searching for a white, four-door 2000 to 2003 Toyota Corolla shown on the video.
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